Being asked to become a sponsor to another person in recovery is a big responsibility, and it is something you should think very carefully about. If your own recovery is strong and stable, you may be in the perfect position to share what you have learned with another person and help this individual towards his or her own strong recovery.

Before you make your mind up, though, there are a few things you need to consider. It is important that you have already worked through the first nine steps and are now working at the next three. Step 12 is specifically related to the issue of helping others – i.e. becoming a sponsor – so you should be working on this. You also need to be sure that you can give enough time to being a sponsor. You have to be able to juggle the responsibilities of being a sponsor with your life while also maintaining your recovery.

If you have made up your mind and are ready to become a sponsor, there are a number of things you can do to help your sponsee. Bear in mind that his or her success or failure is not down to you, but you can ensure that you do your best to help this person succeed.

  • It is important that your sponsee is aware that becoming a sponsor is a significant part of your own Explain to the individual that what you are doing is not a professional responsibility. The idea of being a sponsor is to help both you and your sponsee.
  • Be available as much as you can for your sponsee. You should be meeting face-to-face regularly, and you should also be available by text, phone or email so that the person can lean on you when necessary. Building a bond with your sponsee is beneficial to both of you.
  • Make sure that you are keeping a close eye on the individual’s recovery progress. It may be the case that he or she needs help with a particular step. Do all you can to encourage your sponsee to get involved with the programme and become more active. Make sure that you tell the person about any meetings, activities or retreats that could be helpful to his or her recovery.
  • If your sponsee is finding it difficult to get to and from meetings, you could offer help. You do not have to become this person’s chauffeur, but if there are times when offering a lift would not be a hardship, then do it.
  • Help your sponsee by introducing him or her to other recovering addicts who may have had similar experiences and who you feel could offer advice and support.
  • Remember that you are not a therapist – it is your job to provide a listening ear, but it is not your job to give advice regarding various aspects of your sponsee’s life. You can discuss options with the individual and offer support when he or she makes a decision, but it is not your job to tell the person what to do.
  • Always keep everything your sponsee tells you private. Discussions between the two of you should be kept confidential at all times. However, if your sponsee tells you something that could threaten his or her safety or the safety of a third party, then you must act, even if this means betraying a confidence.
  • Remember that your sponsee may make a wrong decision here or there, but you cannot try to control the situation. You must allow the individual to live his or her life and take responsibility for his or her recovery. All you can do is offer support and guidance so that the same mistakes are not made